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July 5, 2007

Anyone know "what Arkansan is for chutzpah"?

According to this CNN article, Tony Snow had a riotous response to Bill Clinton's criticism of Bush's commutation of Lewis Libby's sentence:

White House spokesman Tony Snow fired back at former President Bill Clinton after Clinton charged that the Bush administration believes the law is a "minor obstacle" in the "Scooter" Libby case. "I don't know what Arkansan is for chutzpah, but this is a gigantic case of it," Snow told reporters in an off-camera briefing Wednesday....

Snow also apparently addressed some other enduring post-commutation issues:

Snow also said the White House feels it is on safe legal ground in contending that Libby will serve two years of probation, despite questions now being raised by Judge Reggie Walton, who issued an order Tuesday suggesting Libby cannot serve any probation since he never served any prison time before the commutation....

After first suggesting he wasn't sure, Snow said White House counsel Fred Fielding had "absolutely" checked on this question before the president signed off on the commutation.  "The White House did not make a misstep," he said. Despite the certainty expressed by Snow, he did add that there's some "gray area in the law."

Asked about the plan of House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, D-Michigan, to probe the Libby commutation, Snow snapped that the congressman should "knock himself out," but also probe the slew of pardons granted at the end of the Clinton administration.

July 5, 2007 at 02:34 PM | Permalink


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Personally, I think the correct tactic of “liberals” should be to say “See, Bush [and Scalia] was agreeing with us about sentencing all along.”

Posted by: S.cotus | Jul 5, 2007 2:50:28 PM

More and more, it looks like this should be labeled a "conditional commutation of sentence." No?

Posted by: P.S. Ruckman, Jr. | Jul 5, 2007 3:00:11 PM

Snow argues that the White House "didn't make a misstep" on the probation/SR issue because there's a "grey area in the law."

What a total crock. The only "grey area" that arguably exists, exists solely because the White House made a misstep.

Posted by: CN | Jul 5, 2007 3:44:14 PM

Wow... the WH talking about "gray" areas now. This was pretty clearly a screw-up b/c lawyers with real criminal experience (or pardon experience) were not consulted.

Posted by: S.cotus | Jul 5, 2007 3:46:17 PM

the whole point of the Libby discussion, that Bush did not know what he was doing, seems contradictory. Has the Law profession made law incomprehensible to the normal fellow? If so,(and I say Yes) this the problem, maybe simplificaton of the law is the answer, not re-education of a President of the United States. Scott Stewart
chemistry major and government employee (no law)


Posted by: Jas Stewart | Jul 5, 2007 6:00:44 PM

Left unmentioned in this was the issue of security clearance. I believe, Libby would have had the highest security clearance of anyone ever subject to incarceration. I believe that issue alone warranted a commutation.

Do we really want someone who held a security clearance of the kind held by Libby and accompanying knowledge subjected to the violence, intimidation and gang activity that is rampant in federal prison? (You know it's there, even in the camps) Frankly, the loss of law license, future employment and heavy fine for Libby provide grave concerns even without the incarceration.

I don't know what the solution is for people in this position that do commit actual crimes, but political manuevering is a dirty business and if we had the time and special prosecutors, I'm pretty sure we could get a fair number of convictions every election cycle

Posted by: rob | Jul 5, 2007 6:04:13 PM

Maybe so, although Webb Hubbell was number 3 at the Justice Department and that didn't stop him from being incarcerated.

Posted by: william | Jul 5, 2007 6:15:25 PM

Rob, I don’t think securities clearances factor into it. The BOP is capable of protecting “special” prisoners, and, in fact it currently has a couple of spies in its capable hands.

Moreover, there are many people that know “secrets” that the enemy (or the French) would like to get their hands on. Are you really proposing that these people get a free pass from incarceration – not just in federal custody, but state custody as well?

Whatever the case, I really don’t have a position on what the president did, except to note that 1) he screwed it up; and 2) it contradicts the administration’s policy on the guidelines.

Posted by: S.cotus | Jul 5, 2007 6:31:34 PM

Posted by: Ray | Jul 5, 2007 9:20:35 PM

Give me a break most of Washington folks are thieves and liars and out more for there own interest than the american people .This Libby crap just proves it even more. He knew from the get go he woild not serve a day, you could tell that by the sickening grin on his face on TV. He deserves to go to jail just like the rest.It is a simple case of whats right or wrong. He lied among no telling what elese. Chaney should be his cell mate.

Posted by: Ray | Jul 5, 2007 9:31:23 PM

Since no one chose to answer the call of this post, I will take a shot:

In Arkansanian talk, "chutzpah" equates to "razorback balls."

Posted by: SPD | Jul 5, 2007 11:07:51 PM

Was Rob joking?

Posted by: nathan | Jul 6, 2007 9:59:44 AM

Don't forget that Scooter Libby represented Mark Rich (who was pardoned by Clinton). This fact is so juicy and fruitful in so many ways.

Posted by: bruce | Jul 6, 2007 12:06:33 PM

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